LEMOORE, Calif. --- Cole Escovedo used his signature move to submit Jeff Bedard for the Tachi Palace Fights bantamweight championship on Thursday. Escovedo caught Bedard with a triangle choke at 2:31 into the first round.
Bedard came out strong, taking Escovedo down and smothering him with strikes from the top. Out of nowhere, Escovedo threw on the triangle and Bedard had no choice but to submit. Escovedo improved to 15-4 with the win.
Journeyman Anthony Ruiz pulled out the upset of the night with a split-decision victory over UFC veteran Hector “Sick Dog” Ramirez. Early in the fight it was Ruiz who was looking to strike, but Ramirez wanted none of it. Ramirez took Ruiz down, took side control, then Ruiz’s back. Ruiz escaped eventually, and looked good standing, but the first round could have gone either way.
Ruiz began to take over in round two, chasing Ramirez around the cage unloading haymakers. By the third round, Ramirez seemed to have little left. Ruiz chased him around defending takedowns and looking for the KO. Ruiz never landed the big shot, but his efforts were enough to get the win with scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 28-29. Ramirez joins a string of UFC veterans who have lost to Ruiz, including Brad Imes and Gan McGee.
Issac de Jesus captured the vacant TPF featherweight title and wowed the crowd with his first-round TKO victory over veteran Nam Phan. De Jesus took control early, reversing Phan and throwing strikes from the top. But the fight was halted and de Jesus was warned when he landed a vertical elbow from top position.
When the action restarted, de Jesus landed a brutal overhand that put Phan on his butt. De Jesus followed Phan down and pounded until the referee stepped in just 2:55 into the first round. The crowd exploded in a roar of approval and began chanting the new champion’s name. With the win, de Jesus improves to 9-1 and cements himself as a rising threat in the 145-pound division.
Rising bantamweight prospect Michael MacDonald handed WEC veteran Manny Tapia his fourth loss in a row via first-round TKO. McDonald took the advantage early, dragging Tapia down and taking his back. McDonald was unable to sink in the rear-naked choke he kept searching for, and Tapia managed to escape.
Once the fighters were back on their feet, McDonald really took over. Tapia was rocked and on the verge of defeat, but managed to survive. Then, McDonald landed a vicious combo that had Tapia reeling backward into the fence. McDonald unloaded on Tapia along the fence until referee Jason McCoy stepped in to save Tapia at 4:31 of the first round. The win improves McDonald’s record to 8-1, while Tapia dropped to 10-4-1.
“The Ultimate Fighter” castaway Gabe Ruediger picked up an impressive win, submitting Dominique Robinson with a rear-naked choke at 4:49 of the second round. Ruediger and Robinson engaged in a back-and-forth standup war with neither fighter gaining a clear advantage. Ruediger tried several times to take the fight to the ground with no success.
Robinson seemed to be gaining a slight advantage on the feet and rushed in to engage. Ruediger landed a perfect spinning backfist that put Robinson straight on his face. Ruediger followed Robinson down and locked in the winning submission.
Up-and-coming female prospect Zoila Frausto handed pro boxer Jessica Rakoczy her second MMA defeat, submitting her with an armbar at 1:17 into the second round. Frausto looked good, controlling the fight with the more dynamic striking. Once the fighters went to the mat, Rakoczy’s lack of a ground game was evident. Frausto took advantage and locked on the winning submission.
Two young relatives of pro wrestling royalty competed on the evening’s undercard with mixed results. Colt Toombs, Rowdy Roddy Piper’s son, dropped a unanimous decision in his pro debut to Art Becerra. David Bollea, nephew of Hulk Hogan, picked up his second career win, defeating Tim Denham via armbar just 1:48 into the first round.
In other bouts:
Gabby Solorio def. Sergio Quinones -- Unanimous Decision 5:00 R3
Phil Collins def. Mike Arellano -- Verbal Submission (Armbar) 3:10 R1
Anthony Figueroa vs. Philip Perez -- Technical Draw (Perez cut from accidental head butt) 1:03 R1
Mike Guidry def. Rafael del Real -- Verbal Submission (Strikes) 0:18 R1
Nader Maghribi def. Joshua Miranda -- Unanimous Decision 3:00 R3